What’s an Artist?

Dave Cracked Up (Blog), Creating, Engineering, Opinions, Ramblings Leave a Comment

I go on these spurts every once in a while where I’ll revisit some of the forums that I’m registered at. Depending on my workload or how I’m feeling, this will be every other week or every other month. It’s kind of like this blog on my site – not really a regular thing. Just when I feel that I have something to say or I’d like to poke around a bit to see how people are doing.

I got into a discussion with a few guys (at least I’m assuming they’re guys … wouldn’t matter anyway) that evolved into a general discussion of what is considered an “art form”. The original posting was asking whether Mastering was an art form and hence were folks who do mastering “artists”?

If you’ve ever participated in an online forum, you’ll know that there are always a few folks who get on the threads who just seem to want to rock the boat. Don’t know whether they’re doing it to just get folks to flame them or whether they truly believe what they’re saying.

angryOf course, there was one of these guys on there who dug his feet in stating that the only true artist in the chain was the person who wrote the music and everyone else involved was a facilitator. He equated a recordist, mixer and mastering engineer to being similar to the guy driving the truck to deliver bricks to a construction site.

I can sort of see where he’s coming from. Depending on the project, there are different functions that COULD be viewed as contributing more than others to the final outcome.


That does not preclude the fact that there is a creative element being evoked by each and every person that touches the album along the way. Those creative elements require skill and experience, but they also require VISION.

Being able to realize that vision is being an artist.

If everyone involved after the initial author of a piece of music was simply a facilitator, then there’d be no differentiation on who you had play your music, who recorded it, who mixed it and who mastered it. You’d be able to pick ten different people from a sea of possible candidates and get the exact same product every time.

Fortunately, that’s not the case. Every person brings a different perspective to the table – there are those you’d trust and there are those you stay away from.

To me, being and Artist is about creating or manipulating something (tangible or abstract) with the intent of eliciting an emotion from the “art consumer”. I see everyone in the process having an active hand in that goal – that’s why they’re artists.

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